The new Congress and incoming presidential administration have signaled that they intend to address aspects of health care reform early in 2017. This week, AOA President Boyd R. Buser, DO, sent a letter to Congressional leadership and the incoming Trump Administration outlining critical priority areas to ensure the osteopathic philosophy is reflected in legislative discussions.
The letter expresses the AOA’s key priorities, philosophy and willingness to work with elected officials to improve health, encourage wellness and promote preventive care.
As the incoming Administration and Congress consider potential changes to the health care system, the AOA seeks to ensure access to affordable care and coverage for patients. The AOA strongly believes that:
- The patient-physician relationship must be preserved. “Physicians’ clinical judgments, in partnership with their patients, should be the primary driver of care decisions,” the letter stated.
- Development of a strong physician workforce is critical. “Current restrictions on postgraduate training have resulted in shortages in many areas of primary and specialty care,” Dr. Buser wrote in the letter. “To ensure patients are receiving the best quality care and attention that they deserve, the AOA supports new and innovative models for the distribution of graduate medical education (GME) funding.”
- Coverage and access to care must be ensured. Specifically, patients should not be charged higher premiums nor denied coverage based upon their pre-existing health care conditions or past medical history, sex, disability, race or ethnicity, family history, or gender. All patients should have coverage for, and access to, a core set of essential benefits and a broad network of physicians, and there should be a safety net of care accessible to the most vulnerable in the nation.
While great progress has been made over the last decade to advance such efforts, the AOA also recognizes and supports the need to continue to improve the national health care delivery system. The AOA is committed to ensuring a high-quality, patient-centered, cost-efficient health care system for the nation.